Education

Vicki and Sharon's roller coaster ride as their new business called Supply Tree takes root

Sharon Golding and Vicki Solly, Directors of Supply Tree Recruitment Ltd. Picture: Dorset Biz News.

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: November 5, 2020 | Updated: 6th November 2020

Talk about a roller coaster.

Vicki Solly and Sharon Golding could never have imagined what was waiting down the track when they founded their new venture from scratch.

Supply Tree Recruitment Ltd, a recruitment business providing supply teaching staff for schools, only started trading in February.

But within weeks the first lockdown resulted in the closure of its school clients.

However, what could have been a negative was swiftly turned to a positive.

Vicki, 45, said: “Things were just beginning to take off with the business when Covid-19 forced the schools into lockdown.

“Despite this unprecedented challenge we remained positive.

“We used the opportunity to recruit – using Zoom interviews – many more teaching staff.

“It meant we were in a strong position for when the schools re-opened. “

Sharon, 44, added: “We could never have anticipated such a start to the business – and so soon after our launch.

“But, actually, by reacting as we did, it put down firmer foundations for the business.”

Vicki, who is Supply Tree’s Recruitment Director, and Sharon, Financial Director, come from different career backgrounds.

Married with a son, aged 15, Vicki was a teacher at Pamphill First School near Wimborne for two years.

She subsequently spent 14 years with the charity Life Education Wessex as an Educator Manager.

Sharon, a married mother of three, worked for a variety of employers, including Lloyds Bank, LV=, American Express, Portman Building Society and Pramacare.

Her experience in the education sector has included Administration/Attendance Officer at the now named Magna Academy and PA to the Headteacher at Hamworthy Park Junior School.

Their paths crossed at a previous employer, also in teacher recruitment, where Vicki worked as Schools Liaison and then Recruitment Manager while Sharon was Finance Administration Manager.

Vicki said: “We both agreed that we were at the stage where if we didn’t do it now and launch our own business then we would never do it.

“We have different skillsets but work so well together and have managed to achieve a really good work-life balance.”

Supply Tree operates from Merley and Blandford and provides teaching staff to nurseries, primary and secondary schools.

The business is open from 6.30am until 9.30pm five days a week but can also respond quickly to out of hour requests for help.

It covers an area stretching from Bridport in the west to the New Forest in the east and up to Sherborne.

The 100+ staff on its books range from nursery practitioners and teaching assistants to higher level teaching assistants and teachers.

Sharon said: “We genuinely care about ensuring that we select the right people for the right roles.

“We’ve both worked in Dorset schools and know how important this is.

“The response we’ve had has been very positive, both from those registered with us and our clients.

“We’re both local, understand the geography of Dorset and offer a really bespoke service.

“Without question we were thrown a bit of a spanner with Covid-19 but we’ve coped well and adapted quickly.

“We care massively about Supply Tree and feel we’ve come a long way in a very short space of time.”

Vicki added: “I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved from a completely blank piece of paper and against such a background of events.

“We have all sorts of plans for the future, including becoming involved in catch-up tutoring.

“We may have had our challenges but we don’t regret our decision to go out on our own for one moment.”

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